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UN Estimates 4 Million Left Homeless by Pakistan Floods


The United Nations says more than 4 million people have been left homeless by devastating floods in Pakistan, double the previous U.N. estimate.

The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Thursday it would more than triple its emergency aid appeal for flood victims from $47 million to $141 million, because the number of people needing emergency aid has grown considerably.

UNICEF regional director Daniel Toole says relief workers urgently need cash donations to provide food, water, and health care -- and that such needs cannot be paid for through pledges.

The latest appeal comes as the U.N. General Assembly prepares to hold a special session Thursday to discuss the flood response. The U.N. last week issued an appeal for $460 million for relief efforts, with half the goal met so far.

U.S. officials say Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce another increase in U.S. aid, with $90 million already committed.

U.S. Senator John Kerry visited flood-damaged areas in Pakistan on Thursday, and met with U.S. troops involved in relief operations.

Monsoon rains have triggered massive floods in Pakistan's Khyber-Paktunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces, killing an estimated 1,600 people and affecting up to 20 million.

During Thursday's session in New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to brief the General Assembly about his visit to Pakistan last Sunday. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is also among those expected to address the assembly.

The Asian Development Bank has said it will give $3 million for emergency relief, and expects to contribute at least $2 billion to recovery efforts during the next two years.

Saudi Arabia announced Thursday it was increasing its aid to Pakistan by $80 million.

Japan says it will send helicopters to help in relief efforts. The country has already extended more than $14 million in assistance.

And Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday to express sympathy over the devastation.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.


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